KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 4, 2012) – After leading by as many as 15 points in the first half and by eight at the break, the ETSU women’s basketball team went ice cold in the second half and Kennesaw State rallied past the Lady Bucs, 78-68, on Saturday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center.
The Lady Bucs, who shot 55.6 percent (15-27) from the field in the first half and saw Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) go a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, quickly went the opposition direction in the final 20 minutes. Instead of getting the ball back into Mitchell’s hands for the easy buckets, ETSU launched 18 three-pointers and went 9-of-33 in the second half (27.3 percent). In the end, Mitchell had two looks in the final 20 minutes and finished with 15 points (6-of-6 shooting) and 10 rebounds to record her fifth double-double of the season.
With the loss, the Lady Bucs dropped to 6-17, 5-7 in A-Sun play, marking the most losses since finishing the 2004-05 season with 17 setbacks. Meanwhile, Kennesaw State improved to 11-13, 6-7 in A-Sun play, while also earning its first win over ETSU in 13 tries.
“With Destiny playing as well as she has been the last couple of weeks, you have to get the ball into her hands,” said head coach Karen Kemp. “For her to only have two attempts in the second half is unacceptable. I felt like when Kennesaw State started making its run we got deflated and never responded. It was so disappointing to see that, because there was still a lot of time left in the game. We have a lot of work to before Thursday.”
The Lady Bucs enjoyed an impressive first half where ten different players reached the scoring column and ETSU assisted on 10 of its 15 made field goals en route to holding a 40-32 lead at the break.
ETSU scored the first four points – and after the Owls kept it close for the first 6 minutes, 18 seconds – the Lady Bucs exploded and broke away from Kennesaw State.
With the Lady Bucs up 13-10, the Blue and Gold mounted a 13-2 run to capture a 26-12 lead after Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) found Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) open for a lay-in at the 9:16 mark. After ETSU built its lead to as many 15 with less than eight minutes to play in the half, the Owls scored eight unanswered points to pull within seven, 32-25, but the Lady Bucs settled back in and took an eight-point cushion into the locker room.
While the Lady Bucs were hot from the field, Kennesaw State was also solid as they shot 52.0 percent (13-25) and went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. ETSU’s bench was productive as the Blue and Gold recorded 16 points, compared to Kennesaw State’s two.
Unfortunately, as hot as the Lady Bucs were in the first half, things turned ice cold in the final 20 minutes of play.
Despite leading by 10 with 15:30 to play, ETSU hit a rut and the Owls capitalized as they posted a 15-5 run to pull even at 53 in a matter of three minutes.
From there, the Lady Bucs regained the lead one other time as Amy Duke’s (Hendersonville, Tenn.) jumper on the following possession put the Blue and Gold up two, but Kennesaw State wanted it more on this Saturday afternoon.
With the game knotted at 55, the Owls pushed their lead to six after Chelcey Farrar registered two of her 15 points on a lay-up to make it a 63-57 contest with 8:15 remaining.
The closest the Lady Bucs made it was four with 3:47 left, but foul trouble and the inability to knock down the three-point shot ended up dooming ETSU.
As the Lady Bucs went ice cold shooting in the second half, Kennesaw State remained hot as they shot 57.0 percent (15-26) in the final stanza to finish with a 54.9 clip (28-51). After only attempting nine threes in the first half, ETSU doubled the attempts in second to finish 5-of-27 from long range, compared to KSU’s 4-of-10 effort.
The Owls used unselfish play to pick up the win as Kennesaw State assisted on 20 of its 28 makes, while the Lady Bucs managed to record only three assists in the second half to finish with 13. The Lady Bucs knocked down 15 of their 18 free throw attempts – and despite missing 16 free throw attempts – Kennesaw State still walked away with the victory.
Mitchell, who has accounted for 24 percent of the Lady Bucs’ scoring over the last six outings, wasn’t a happy camper following the game.
“We were holding the ball more instead of moving it around, and played like individuals in the second half,” added Mitchell. “I’ve never been frustrated like that. We need to come together as a team.”
All five of Kennesaw State’s starters scored in double figures as Sametria Gideon finished with a game-high 16 points, while Farrar added a double-double with 11 rebounds.
The Lady Bucs head home for a brief two-game home stint, beginning Thursday, Feb. 9, when ETSU hosts Jacksonville. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the KSU Convocation Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.